EFF drops Gigaba bombshell over Guptas’ citizenship
THE HAWKS say they have not received any instructions to investigate allegations that Malusi Gigaba personally granted the Guptas permanent citizenship in South Africa, despite their applications being turned down.
This came as the EFF yesterday released a letter it claimed was proof that Gigaba had, while he was the home affairs minister, flouted the country’s immigration laws to accommodate the Guptas’ application for permanent residency after they had failed the requirements.
“At the moment, the issue rests with the SAPS. The SAPS has to contact the National Prosecuting Authority and look at the legal implications of the issue. And based on the criminal priority of the matter, the acting national commissioner will decide on the final outcome,” said Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi last night.
The Hawks have so far confirmed that they had opened an inquiry into the authenticity of the leaked Gupta emails, which have detailed various incidents of the politically connected family’s meddling in the government and parastatals and the awarding of tenders.
Yesterday, the EFF said it would challenge in court the granting of citizenship to five members of the Gupta family in May 2015.
In a letter dated January 22, 2015 from the Department of Home Affairs, the application for naturalisation was rejected. According to the letter, the five had jointly applied to be naturalised as South African citizens on June 3, 2013, but according to “GG Hlatshwayo”, writing on behalf of Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni, their application was rejected.
The reason for the rejection was that they had not been physically resident in South Africa continuously for five years and had spent more than 90 days out of the country.
In the letter, the Guptas were told that they would qualify to make another application on December 23, 2015, provided they had not exceeded 90 days outside South Africa for every year in the five years preceding their application.
But four months after the letter of rejection, Gigaba, who is now the finance minister, personally addressed a letter to “Mr AK Gupta”, stating that after “careful consideration”, their application had been approved. “I have decided, by virtue of the powers vested in me under section 5(9)a of the South African Citizenship Amendment Act, 2010… to waive the residential requirements in regard to your application for naturalisation and grant you early naturalisation,” wrote Gigaba.
In April last year, the DA’s spokesperson on home affairs, Haniff Hoosen, questioned Gigaba in Parliament over the granting of citizenship to the Guptas and whether there had been exceptional circumstances.
In the correspondence received from the Department of Home Affairs in October 2016, it stipulates that under exceptional circumstances the minister may grant a certificate of naturalisation to an applicant who does not comply with the requirements.
The motivation submitted by the Guptas for these exceptional circumstances cited their company Oakbay Investments and other interests, with supporting documents submitted, including Department of Trade and Industry company registrations.
The correspondence includes that their application reflects employment of about 7 000 employees, and that the Gupta family contributed to the South African economy.
These arguments were tabled as significant reasoning to provide substantive grounds for consideration of their application for naturalisation under exceptional circumstances as stipulated in section 5(9) of the Citizenship Act.
“What is quite clear is that whenever there is favourable treatment towards this family, current legislation has been used to hide any wrongdoing,” Hoosen said. He said any shred of proof of wrongdoing would warrant the citizenship being revoked.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said they would challenge Gigaba’s decision in court over his “irrationality”.
Neither Gigaba nor his spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete could be reached for comment.
‘FLOUTED THE LAW’: Malusi Gigaba